Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Portrait of the Artist: William J. O’Brien

Artist Profiles, Ceramics, Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
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Portrait of William J. O’Brien in his studio, circa, 2013. /Photo: Robert Chase Heishman.

Weaving his way gracefully around shelves brimming with colorful sculptures and past an in-progress colored pencil drawing tacked onto the wall, William J. O’Brien guides me into the ceramics section of his large, ground-floor studio. The room smells of clay and incense, and three large tables are packed with drying clay bodies draped in fogged plastic. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty/Shane Campbell Gallery

Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Sculpture No Comments »
Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty. Installation view at Shane Campbell Gallery-Lincoln Park, 2015. /Photo: Evan Jenkins

Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty. Installation view at Shane Campbell Gallery-Lincoln Park, 2015. /Photo: Evan Jenkins

RECOMMENDED

Alex Chitty once said in an interview that she arranges found objects in her work so “they seem to have always belonged together.” On display in Shane Campbell Gallery’s domestic project space, her sculptures look very much at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kishio Suga/Shane Campbell Gallery

Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia No Comments »
Kishio Suga. Installation view, Shane Campbell Gallery, 2015.

Kishio Suga. Installation view, Shane Campbell Gallery, 2015.

RECOMMENDED

Mono-ha (“school of things”) is a group of contemporary Japanese artist-philosophers who manipulate things just enough to make some of their physical properties a noticeable object of contemplation. Instead of craft, they cultivate awareness, and indeed the craft on display in the Kishio Suga exhibit would barely meet the standards of a high-school shop class. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: David Schalliol/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Photography, Public Art No Comments »
David Schalliol. "The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail," 2015.

David Schalliol. “The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail,” 2015.

RECOMMENDED

One of the most inspired recent additions to Chicago’s public spaces is The 606, a trail that follows the tracks of the once-abandoned elevated Bloomingdale train line that runs in a straight line through Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown. To be on the trail is to be transported to a world that is apart from and above the city, yet is immersed in it, as the tops of buildings at times form walls on both sides. The experience is invigorating and empowering, especially because the line has been left in a partly rough state. It is a place where people can jog, stroll and walk down to several ground-level parks that dot the route. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Julie Rodrigues Widholm Named New Director of DePaul Art Museum

Lincoln Park, Michigan Avenue, News etc. No Comments »
Julie Rodrigues Widholm. Photo by Nathan Keay.

Julie Rodrigues Widholm/Photo: Nathan Keay

DePaul University announced Wednesday its selection of Julie Rodrigues Widholm as the next director of the DePaul Art Museum. Widholm, a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, has been with the MCA since 1999, starting as a research assistant and rising through the ranks. She holds a master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, Widholm curates three to seven exhibitions a year, amassing a portfolio of more than fifty exhibitions at the MCA. She starts at DePaul August 31. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Collin Pressler Appointed Curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science

Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, News etc. No Comments »
Collin Pressler, recently appointed curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

Collin Pressler, recently appointed curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science

Collin Pressler, a Newcity art section contributor, has been appointed as curator at the International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS). Pressler’s work in this position will engage with artists and scientific advisors as he manages the production of IMSS exhibitions, overseeing researching, conceptualizing, designing and financing.

Pressler, who has written for Newcity since June 2014, has curated projects previously at the 4th Ward Project Space in Hyde Park as well as at The Chicago Perch, and has additionally overseen exhibitions in various dimensions the past two years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Along with curating medically oriented exhibitions at IMSS, Pressler will also help grow art programs at the museum, including the Artist in Residence program and “Anatomy in the Gallery.” Justina Doyle, manager of education and events at IMSS, writes, “He will be working diligently to expand our newly opened Pathology exhibit, as well as exhibits on the work of Andreas Vesalius and Cardiology.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bill Sosin/Chicago Art Source

Lincoln Park, Photography No Comments »
Bill Sosin. "Mirage"

Bill Sosin. “Mirage”

RECOMMENDED

Shooting the streets and sidewalks of Chicago in color, at any time of day and night, through the windows of his car when heavy and clinging rains are falling, Bill Sosin captures the miasma in which we are enveloped at those moments. If we are not too drenched and assaulted by the wind and the chill to notice, such scenes can have a rough yet melting beauty for us, with which Sosin is enthralled. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Paul D’Amato/DePaul Art Museum

Lincoln Park, Photography 8 Comments »
"Mike and Doug," 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago.

“Mike and Doug,” 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago.

RECOMMENDED

Back in the day, as a young social photographer, Paul D’Amato went out into Chicago’s black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the wish of so many of the young middle-class white males of his generation: to connect with the homies or, as sociologists say, to get a shot of “prestige from below”—mean, tragic and vitalizing street style.

Now middle aged, D’Amato has continued to hang around the ‘hood, but he has shifted his approach to the more restrained and sedate project of shooting color portraits of its residents. D’Amato’s images place his subjects in their own environments, but they are decidedly formal and still, as though the subjects were in the studio.

D’Amato never became a homie; he stayed, but he retreated to the role of the photographer who comes to the scene with the practices from whence he came. That perhaps harsh judgment can be readily confirmed by examining the representation of D’Amato’s subjects. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Gifts from the Koffler Collection/DePaul Art Museum

Lincoln Park, Painting No Comments »
Robert Louis Thompson, "Shepherding," 1965

Robert Louis Thompson, “Shepherding,” 1965

RECOMMENDED

In 1971, Samuel and Blanche Koffler, originally from New York, began a charitable foundation to collect contemporary Chicago art. A board of five administrators—including a painter, a sculptor, an art historian, a critic and museum director—selected the acquisitions, many of which were donated to the Smithsonian Museum about ten years later. Last fall, ninety-five additional artworks were donated to the recently built  DePaul Art Museum, fifteen of which have now been selected for temporary display.

Much of this collection was built by experts, Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jodi Swanson (Alempijevic)/Chicago Photography Center

Lincoln Park, Photography No Comments »
"Chained Soul"

“Chained Soul”

RECOMMENDED

Right up front about using photography to express her ever-incomplete journey of self-discovery, Jodi Swanson (Alempijevic) does not specialize, deploying whatever technique and genre depicts the mood that she wants to represent to herself and communicate to viewers. Whether she is shooting in black-and-white or color; going straight or venturing into digital manipulation; posing models in formal studies or turning the camera on herself; or capturing slices of life on the streets, meditating on natural forms, or flirting with surrealism, Swanson is always intensely passionate—she is addicted to feeling and she is a consummate pusher who knows how to break through our emotional resistance. Read the rest of this entry »